Almost 300 concerned locals have shown up in force on Wednesday to express their deep concern for the uncertainty that exists within the Gascoyne regarding the pending start of the new Aboriginal Cultural Heritage laws.
Nationals Member for North West Central Merome Beard said the electorate is concerned about the imminent start of the new ACH laws which was reflected by the turn out to this weeks ACH session in Carnarvon.
“The roll out of the ACH changes have been a disgrace,” said Ms Beard.
“Minister Buti has continually dodged questions and been reluctant to give any ground or listen to the Gascoyne and inlands genuine concerns.”
“The community feels like the education forum was an afterthought having it held in the eleventh hour before the new laws will begin, and with a feeling that the changes are being rushed through the backdoor.”
“I welcome the fact that after I wrote to the Minister recently and followed up in Parliament he agreed to deliver the workshop at a larger venue to ensure that the community could be properly accommodated.
“The community is anxious about these changes, and what it means for landowners, industry and the community at large.
“With a large group of growers of Vietnamese heritage ensuring this section of the community can fully understand these changes is vital, so having an interpreter in attendance is a must and not a luxury.
“It was disappointing no Vietnamese translator was in attendance, with no material provided in multiple languages which is a missed opportunity. I am calling on the Minister to deliver an extra session designed for those with English as their second language.”
“With the Carnarvon Horticultural Region sitting within existing Registered Aboriginal Site 39200, growers, businesses and livelihoods are directly linked to this change, and concerns and uncertainty held are genuine and well founded,” said Ms Beard.
“To find out in the education session that there will be departmental staff based in Geraldton and not Gascoyne was a shock. The region is very large and has a need for full time staff and we cop another part time service delivered from 500kms away.
“The continued hollowing out of government services and staff is hurting our ability to attract and retain families,” said Ms Beard.
Ms Beard has acknowledged the hard work of Carnarvon Growers Association and the work of CEO Nick Cuthbert for raising their well-founded concerns with the workshop process.
If you would like to raise your concerns regarding the ACH Act with the Premier, please email Ms Beard directly on firstname.lastname@example.org